Today's Quick Scrapes
The pandemic response arguably could represent liberal values at their best. Government, guided by scientific expertise, protected vulnerable people through a noble exercise of shared sacrifice for shared benefit.
The pandemic response arguably could represent a caricature of what critics disdain about liberalism. Government, responding in a panicky way to headlines and hysteria, ran roughshod over individual freedom and the private sector, a problem whose only remedy was even more remorseless expansion of government.
Sum it all up and it is true that China’s stockpile of state assets abroad hasn’t been growing as fast as it did before 2015. But China is still sitting on a massive stockpile, and thus is in a strong position to manage a range of shocks—particularly if the financial account remains heavily managed.
The church is closed, the bar is closed, the local plant is closed. Money is tight. Meanwhile the elites are laughing about binging Tiger King on Netflix. It doesn’t feel right. I can understand that or feel that I must try to understand that.
As Tyler put it yesterday, “America is a democracy, and the median voter will not die of coronavirus.” Solve for the equilibrium.
Far fetched, but consider this thought:
... there was a darker dimension: the more Beijing cooperated, the less the disease stood to affect other countries. This includes countries China sees as a threat to its existence, like the United States. Why should China suffer the effects of a pandemic while others stayed safe — and increased their strength relative to China — based on China’s own costly experience?
Such a question is of course inimical to human decency. And yet we must consider that Xi Jinping has produced the greatest program of ethnic cleansing in the world today. He has curtailed freedoms in China severely and is the father of the panopticon state. His incessant military buildup threatens neighbors while using economic and other subversive means to erode the sovereignty of countries around the world. We should not assume it was beyond his imagining to withhold a degree of support from the international community to ensure that China would not suffer alone.